This busy Saturday started as all Saturdays should – with some window shopping in the Marais with Danlu! While I didn’t buy anything, I got some delicious free tea samples from Palais des Thés, and that alone made getting up before noon totally worth it. Plus, I was able to carry on a somewhat complete conversation in French with the very hip owner of the American Apparel, where we talked about the pros and cons of working in retail (he actually winced when I mentioned Forever 21 haha!)
Next, Danlu once again proved her amazing restaurant finding abilities and we spent a couple of hours eating delicious hot pot at a place called Shabu Sha in the 3rd. I thought the magnetic conveyor belt delivery system was a nice touch!
Once we were completely stuffed we headed over to the Centre Pompidou, only to realize that the exhibition we wanted to see wasn’t starting for another week. So we did the logical thing and decided to seek out dessert!
Along the way to our ultimate goal – a delicious Japanese bakery near the Opera – we passed a whole series of places that were completely new to me, including a covered passageway called the Galerie Véro-Dodat (picture below) and the Jardin du Palais-Royal. I love that Paris has a seemingly endless supply of hidden gems like these, clearly I need many more years in this beautiful city to discover them all!
In the gardens (which also featured these deceptively-hard-to-climb black and white columns) it really felt like spring was practically upon us. Not only were the pink magnolia trees beginning to bloom, but the place was absolutely crawling with adorable babies (which I associate with spring haha!)
After winding through a series of alleys and passageways we finally made it to Aki Boulanger, where we got heavenly iced matcha with chantilly cream and red bean paste.
Afterwards we were in the mood for more cultural experiences, so we crossed the Seine and made our way to the Fondation Cartier pour l’art contemporain, which was featuring two exhibitions – one on the Japanese photographer Daido Moriyama and the other on Colombian photographer Fernell Franco. Moriyama’s photos were by far my favorite. While alone they were somewhat ordinary images of everyday life in Tokyo, presented together, with the fondation’s dramatic lighting, they made a strong impression.
The exhibition also featured a large dark room where a series of his photos of Tokyo, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Houston, and Los Angeles were projected on four tall panels, accompanied by soundtrack of street sounds from each city. This was made even more entertaining by the little French boy sitting on the floor in front of us, who cried out “la!” each time a new photo appeared, while valiantly trying to break free from his mother’s grasp so he could see run up and touch them. I really admire these parents for their willingness to bring their young children to exhibitions like these. If I was in their shoes, I’m not sure I would have the energy!